An African City made me feel seen, and it’s awesome
I finally found it! That webshow that’s about young African ladies living their lives! I knew it had to exist, I’d almost given up the hunt… But I knew. And after countless hours spent doing things other than the things I was supposed to be doing… I have that very show here for you all today.
An African City is set in Accra, Ghana, though I do believe that it was shot somewhere in the USA, and it centres around the return of our main character Nana Yaa to her home country and her reunification with four old friends. All five ladies have lived and been educated overseas for significant portions of their lives and have decided, for their individual reasons, to return to “the motherland” to make a go of things. We have our highly accomplished lawyer who has returned from England, jobless, following a divorce; our entrepreneur who has returned in order to export shea butter and other goodies; our… I’m not sure what she does, who is living off her daddy’s money; and our work hard play harder NGO specialist who came back for the money.
And then we have Nana Yaa. She’s ambitious, relateable and more than a little bit broken. We watch her navigate her way into finding an apartment, acclimatising herself with the dating scene, dealing with her mother’s conspiracy against her natural hair… and all of this whilst she tries to mend her broken heart all over again and maintain her dignity around her the (dislikeable) first love of her life. Segun.
The Episodes range in length, with the longest being almost 17 minutes. The first season is complete and I wouldn’t recommend watching it at work. This is more of a Saturday hang out type of show, as each episode is a little long and leaves you with a bit to think about… if you care to think. I also wouldn’t recommend watching this show around any children and it definitely gets NSFW a few times. These are grown women, after all. They do and talk about grown women things!
What I enjoyed
The first reason should be fairly straight forward… I’ve been looking for a show like this for a long time.
The second, perhaps not so much. I’m what they call a Third Culture Kid or a TCK. That basically means that I’ve grown up moving from place to place, living in cultures other than my own. It also means that I identify with the ability to be of a place but not from a place, if that makes sense. And that’s what has been great about watching An African City. It made me realise that the African TCK struggle is real; somebody out there understands it. The questions about whether I’m in between perms (nope, went natural a few years back); the irony of Light Might being a thing in Africa (seriously… can we be done with that now?); ‘single’ being a word which seems to lack a definite description… All of it. It’s not all bad, of course… but it’s nice to see that I’m not crazy and some of this stuff is actually odd to other people, too.
Of course… I loved the range of complexions. Whilst acknowledging the existence of Light Might the show does an excellent job of representing some of the many shades of Africa, as well as tackling the issue of mixed race and mixed culture kids also rightfully identifying themselves however they want. Kudos. We all deserve our place in the Sun (preferably with a very large hat, because it gets hot out there!) and we all have equal rights to claim that place, whether our fathers happen to be from a different country or continent, or one parent wasn’t the same race as the other.
There’s very good character consistency throughout the show, and it’s very well -acted. That’s even more awesome considering that it’s the first season AND that it’s a web show. These are the benefits of having experienced actresses, I suppose.
What I didn’t enjoy
The only drawback of the show was that at times it felt a little too cliched. Each character is well-defined… but sometimes it’s a bit much. Nobody is that consistent all the time. It’d be nice to see a little bit more depth to our other leading ladies than their archetypal portrayals of “the types of women you’ll meet who’ve lived outside of Africa”. A little more individuality for flavour would be great.
Mood Rating: Get into this show with a glass of whatever wine you drink (and the bottle on standby, of course), and have a Skype watch-along with your friends overseas. Chances are, you’ll find something to relate to in this show.